Bambi and Her Pink Gun Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Monday, May 09, 2005
Release Date: Monday, June 20, 2005
What They Say
The word is out on the streets: a reward of five million dollars to the opportunist that wastes the courier calling herself Bambi and returns her living cargo. Chainsaw swinging psychos, gold-toothed Elvises, Derringer-packing grannies and all the other scum in these badlands could care less whether Bambi is kidnapping this toddler she christened "Pampi" or if she's snatching him back from his captors. With a pink gun in one hand, and a leashed Pampi in the other, can antihero Bambi's huge ego and formidable gun skills hold off an army?
My copy is a very rough proof, basically a bound binder with layout notes, so I really cannot do a proper review for the packaging. I will say this series is not censored, as advertised. There is a lot of violence and nudity and it is all there. At this point DMP has included ads for Yellow, Jazz, Worst, Ikebukuro West Gate Park and Antique Café.
I have talked to a few people about this series and the consensus feeling I get is that the art is not typical of manga. Heh! Yeah, well, no one ever said manga is an art style, I wonder what manga is supposed to look like. I guess this is not it. I am reminded of Dan Cowles (Eight Ball, Ghost World) and his artistic style. The character designs done with very thick lines, large foreheads, bug-eyes, nubby noses and lots o' lip is similar to what Atsushi Kaneko does here with Bambi. Backgrounds do not have the same feel, as Bambi's backgrounds are a little more active and not as stale. Style is influenced by American pop-culture - punk, Elvis, Wild West - are present and done effectively. Thick lines, very little screen tone for shading and lots of expression from the eyes and mouth are staples of Atsushi's art. Overall, it is very stylish, very fun and yes not typical of most manga people see in the US.
The translation for Worst is solid. While there were at least a pair of moments where the dialogue did not flow, and the awkward way they have translated middle school names did take the grade down a bit. Positives include honorifics, appropriate usage of slang, subbing signs and very good use of cultural notes in gutters. SFX might get some attention as DMP handled these in a unique way. They are all subbed using a small font as not to compromise art. The way they translated some of SFX might confuse some readers. Some of the translations are literal so in some situations the kana for "mogu" will be "mogu" instead of "chew." But the translation would be reversed in other situations. Readers familiar with raw FX might not have a problem, but having to translate a translation might annoy some.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
"Me Bambi!" If you were to hear those words the chances you will live to hear any more after that are very low.
Bambi's got a job to do and you best not get in her way. The "old men" have sent Bambi an assignment and knowing them this must be something big. Bambi also knows the "old men" do not have too much time left on this Earth, therefore Bambi does not have much time to get this done. Bambi does not care who, where or why she is going to get this done no matter what the cost. Bambi is aware that an assignment like this will likely mean she will be in danger, but that is a part of her life. Bambi is smart, so she knows that there are plenty of things that could kill her - assassins, sociopaths, bounty hunters, polluted water, processed food void of nutritional value. Bambi chooses this life because it can lead to a better life. Bambi does not have time to watch her back; she just looks foward until her mission is complete.
Bambi's gotta gun. Bambi knows how to use it and will use it quite often. Bambi would not hesitate to use her guns on friends or foe. Bambi might not have the resources or the manpower behind her, but her mind, her body and her guns are more than enough to get her job done. Bambi thinks it is foolish, but there seem to be plenty of people out there that do not understand that. Bambi will just have to mow them all down. If it is the Gabba King and his goons, they will fall one by one. If it is some bounty hunter looking for money and fame, Bambi thinks they should reconsider their value of life, cause they are not going to see any money if they meet her. Bambi hopes this will end soon, she would like to be able to eat right and take baths on a more frequent basis again soon.
I am not sure why but after reading Bambi I had this feeling as if I was reading the storyboard for a Tarantino film. Girl's got a gun. Girl knows how to use gun. Girl is being chased by hundreds of others with guns. They are all in it for one thing, a stupid kid. Some mysterious group is behind all of this and who knows what the connection is between the girl and the organization. No one is shy about using their guns; actually guns do as much talking as the characters do. Life is surreal but when is it not. Woof!
Bambi is definitely not your typical manga. First of all it is full of adult content and uncensored. From the start it is very violent; Atsushi does not mind framing gore and destruction for full effect. There are sexual references and drugs. I could stop there and that would be rare enough, however Atsushi’s use of perspective and how this manga has been able to use like techniques like flashbacks and parallel plotlines seriously reminded me much of how movies are directed. Bambi does not require much thought, it is very primal, not dialogue heavy; instead, Atsushi lets the action do the talking. Actually, more I think about it, I am reminded of Matsumoto Taiyo’s manga’s, full of style, action and violence; where the world the characters live in is just as interesting as the cast. But this is actually better because it is not as pretentious, it does not have to rely on being violent or extreme to be entertaining. Kick ass fun and definitely worth a look if you run into it next month.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: N/A
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
Orientation: Right to Left